Decorative contact lenses are intended to change the color of the eye or shape of the eye. Sometimes called Plano or non-corrective lenses, include cat’s eyes, hypnotic spirals and 8-balls. The popularity of decorative contact lenses has increased, especially among high school and college students, during Halloween, social gatherings, holiday season, parties, and other times during the year. Unfortunately, wearing or sharing decorative contact lenses, cause injuries to the eye, and in some cases permanent blindness. They don’t fit in the eye well, unlike corrective lenses, which are fitted properly by an optical professional (optometrist). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve the sale of this type of contact lenses, especially because of improper fitting. The FDA has learned some manufactures are not seeking authorization before marketing decorative lenses. Prohibited sale of this type of contact lenses sold by beauty salons, flea markets, convenience stores, beach shops and Internet websites. Decorative contact lenses should only be purchased from an eye care professional, providing proper fitting and instructions given to prevent eye damage. The FDA does approve colored prescription contact lenses.
Vision problems have been associated wearing decorative contact lenses or worn over night. Reports received by the FDA, includes corneal ulcers, an infection of the eye. This type of infection if untreated, can lead to corneal scarring and vision impairment or blindness. Decorative and corrective contact lenses have caused eyesight problems: Corneal Ulcers or ulcerative keratitis (Infection or injury cause inflammation of the cornea, through which light passes. Primary cause resulting from contact lens over-wear or worn overnight. The condition can result in blindness or eye loss. Antibiotics are prescribed for treatment), corneal abrasion (Scrapped off the outer layer of the cornea or epithelial. Swelling of the cornea and excess tears cause blurred vision.), conjunctivitis (pink eye), and vision impairment or blindness.
On July 29, 2006, The United States Senate unanimously approved a bill, protecting consumers from eye injuries due to the misuse of decorative contact lenses. The legislation (S.172) requires the Food and Drug Administration to regulate decorative contact lenses as a medical device, similar to corrective lenses. The legislation amends the “Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act” to provide that all contact lenses shall be deemed to be medical devices. Leading the effort to get the legislation approved by Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH), and Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY). Senator Mike DeWine said: “By classifying contracts a medical devices, the Food and Drug Administration’s authority to regulate all contacts will prevent countless, senseless injuries every year.” Since 2003, the Food and Drug Administration has acknowledged receiving reports of corneal ulcers associated with wearing decorative lenses and issued warnings to consumers. The FDA and Customs officials have the authority to detain automatically all decorative contact lenses presented at the United States ports of entry. Consumers are requested by the FDA, discontinue use of decorative contact lenses obtained without proper fitting and a prescription. Also, report any problems with decorative contact lenses to any FDA district office complaint coordinator in their geographic area or visiting the website:
http://www.fda.gov/opacom/backgrounders/complain.html. The American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests that parents be aware of whether their children could be wearing decorative contacts. Injuries suffered from decorative contact lenses may be recovered through contacting an experienced product liability lawyer.
Underscoring the importance of good vision and routine eye examination, done by a licensed optometrist. These professional doctors are trained to diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders of the eye. Also, licensed optometrists have received their credentials from the American Optometric Association.